Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Come One!

Protesters demonstrate once again their commitment to national unity and nonviolent tactics, and the Assads demonstrate once again their commitment to violence and brutality.

Friday July 22, 2011

11 were killed during protests that swept across Syria demanding end to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, 2 of them were killed in Aleppo City when security forces and Shabbiha militias stormed Amina Mosque. Another protester was shot dead by security forces in the City of Izaz in Aleppo province as well. Two protesters were also killed in Homs, 1 in village of Kafroumah in the Idlib Province, and 2 in the Damascene Suburb of Mleihah.

1.2 million protester took part in the demonstrations in Hama and Deir Ezzor cities alone.

The Damascene suburbs of barzeh, Qaboun, Ruknaddine and Douma, among others, remain under heavy siege.

Around 258 communities joined in today’s protests fielding more than 5 million protesters spread out all over Syria according to local estimates. Estimates based on the videos provided put the figure at 2.5 million.

What really happened in Homs on Tuesday… this spate of violence had nothing to do with a spontaneous Sunni bloodletting of Alawites – it came about after regime agents murdered a tribal leader and that tribe took revenge on regime agents. Assad is arming Alawites in the hopes of creating a sectarian conflict out of a fundamentally political one.
Armed forces loyal to the government opened fire on protesters in several towns and cities, killing four of them, residents and antigovernment activists said. Another protester died Friday from wounds sustained this month in the central city of Hama.
MORE than 400,000 Syrians gathered in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor today after weekly Muslim prayers in another day of nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad, a rights activist said.
“Based on available information, the Special Advisers consider that the scale and gravity of the violations indicate a serious possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed and continue to be committed in Syria,” said Mr. Deng and Mr. Luck.
"There was nothing concluded" from the talks earlier this month, which arouse from a pledge by Damascus to cooperate with an agency probe, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told The Associated Press.
Uprisings continue to ripple through Syria, despite government crackdowns. Jeffrey Brown gets insight from The New York Times' Anthony Shadid.
Assad’s ruthless campaign against the country’s peaceful opposition is thus also a march against time and space, a war that he cannot win. No one knows for sure when the regime will fall. Maybe Assad will survive Ramadan. But it is unlikely he can outlast an opposition that shows few signs of fatigue or fear after almost five months of rebellion.

“Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right” – Rudyard Kipling
White House demonstration to support Syrian people rights to freedom (July 23)

Though the Assads failed to use much violence in their crackdown on protesters this Friday, they will more likely compensate for that in the coming days.

The Assads have always mixed their tactics: at times decreasing and at others increasing the levels of violence depending on their own assessment of the situation on the ground and on the message they want to send to the international community. Considering the increasing tensions with the U.S. and France, the Assads might be trying to cool things down a bit by way of avoiding a complete break in diplomatic relations. Furthermore, in this particular instance, the growing restlessness within the Alawite community and its mounting internal anger against the rising levels of violence and increasing attempts by Assad officials using state-run media to stoke sectarian fires, especially in Homs, seems to be giving the Assads reasons to pause. Alawite support for the Assads has never been as solid as people thought, and, after four months of protests, many Alawites can now see through the lies told in official media, and are gradually beginning to realize that, while there are some fanatics among the Sunnis, they remain pretty much at the margins of things. Indeed, many Alawites seem willing to accept now that this is not a Sunni or an Anti-Alawite revolution, as the Assads and their propagandists keep telling them, but a national protest movement focusing squarely on the corruption of the Assads and their henchmen known to come from different communal backgrounds.

Hama Province
Close to 650,000 protesters by local estimates took part in various demonstrations throughout the province, close to 400,000 in Hama City alone. (Hama City – Protesters form a human flag of Syria) (Hama City – People pouring into the Aassi Square – “freedom sweet freedom”) (Hama City – People sing: “Down with the regime, down with the Baath Party”) (Hama City – “the people want to topple the regime”) (Hama City – “the people want to topple the regime”) (Hama City – “damn your soul, Bouthaina (Assad spokeswoman”) (Hama City - protesters sing and chant all through the night) (Hama City - protesters sing “damn your soul Bashar”) (Hama City - Another take of Al-Aassi Square) (Salamiyyah: protesters in a festive mood) (Sauran - “come on leave, Bashar”)

Deir Ezzor Province
Close to 450,000 protesters by local estimates took part in today’s demonstrations in Deir Ezzor Province, around half of them in Deir Ezzor City itself, but on account of how the city is laid out, no one place could fit them all, they scattered in different squares and streets (Takaya Street at noon) (Takaya Street at noon) (Midlej Square – “Come on Bashar, Leave” “the people want to topple the regime” (Midlej Square – “the people want to topple the regime”) (Hassan Taha Street) (Ghassan Abboud Street) (Midlej Square at night) (“Come on Bashar, leave”) (Takaya Street at night, “Damn your soul, Hafiz”) (“The dead want to topple the regime.” Protesters in Deir Ezzor have a weird sense of humor, but I am told the practice originated in Homs. Figures!) (Albou Kamal: protesters defy military siege of their city) (Albou Kamal: protesters defy military siege of their city)

Homs Province
Over 150,000 protesters took part in demonstrations despite the siege of many key neighborhoods by army tanks and security forces. (Homs City / Bab Al-Sibaa – a shop burning after it was shelled by a tank) (Homs City / Bab Al-Sibaa - tank shelling the neighborhood) (Homs City / Bab Al-Sibaa - army troops and tanks storm the neighborhood) (Homs City / Bab Al-Sibaa – sounds of gunfire in the neighborhood) (Homs City / Bab Al-Sibaa – army defectors and security forces clash through the night) (Homs City / Jobar Neighborhood - “Come on leave, Bashar”) (Homs City / Bab Amr - protesters hang a statue of the late Assad and unfurl an independence flag) (Homs City / Al-Qousour Neighborhood) (Homs City / Al-Khaldiyeh) (Homs City / Al-Khaldiyeh) (Homs City / Al-Khaldiyeh) (Homs City - protesters from Al-Khaldiyeh and Al-Bayadah merge) (Homs City / Insha’at Neighborhood) (Homs City / Ghoutah Neighborhood) (Homs City / Bab Houd) (Homs City / Bab Al-Turkman) (Deir Baalbah - thousands of protesters chant “Leave Bashar, there is no dialog”) (Al-Holeh: thousands of protesters express their solidarity with their beleaguered provincial capital) (Al-Waer: protesters sing their version of the national anthem “protectors of the land, peace be upon you, the people want to topple the regime”) (Rastan / July 21: on the so-called “We Don’t Love you” Thursday, residents go on a city-wide cleaning campaign to “cleanse” it of all traces of army and militia presence.

Idlib Province
More than 100,000 protesters took part in demonstrations throughout the restive province (Jarjanaz - thousands chant “come on leave, Bashar”) (Khan Shaikhun - protesters carry a banner urging Turkish PM Erdogan to pay attention to their plight) (Areeha: protesters come under fire as they chant “the people want to topple the regime”) (Idlib City: thousands of protesters chant “leave Bashar, there is no dialog”) (Kafaar Nabbol: tanks in the streets)

More than 200,000 protesters took to the streets in different suburbs of Damascus (Midan - “the people want to topple the regime”) (Midan - “damn your soul Abou Hafiz”) (Mouaddamiyyah Suburb) (Barzeh - protesters brandish both the current and independence flags  they chant “freedom freedom”) (Crowds from Arbeen and Zamalka merge) (Ruknaddine: Shabbiha came on these buses from Tartous and Jableh to lay siege to the neighborhood where 4 protesters were killed last Friday) (Al-Hajar Al-Aswad: “we will only kneel before God” “the people want to topple the regime”) (Al-Hajar Al-Aswad) (Jobar: “come on leave, Bashar”) (Zabadani: “long live Syria, down with Bashar Al-Assad) (Al-Qadam: thousands of protesters chant “the people want to topple the regime” and “Come on leave, Bashar”) (Darayyah: burning the flags of Russia, China and Hezbollah) (Qeimariyeh: hundreds demonstrate in this traditional neighborhood at the heart of the Old Damascus, the most important tourist hangout in the city) (Douma: protesters are dispersed by security forces)

Aleppo Province
Though still relatively small and few, the number of protests taken place in Aleppo is on the increase. This Friday over 20,000 people have taken part in protests around Aleppo. (Izaz City - security fire into crowd of protesters) (Izaz City - Aleppo begins to offer martyrs to the cause) (Brining down a statue of Hafiz Al-Assad) (Tal Rifaat - “the people want to topple the regime” (Aleppo City: protesters inside Amina Mosque chant in support of Homs) (Aleppo City: security forces and shabbiha militias storm Amina mosque and begin beating the unarmed worshippers) (Aleppo City: security forces storm Amina Mosque with guns and batons in hand to carry out arrests) (Aleppo City: driven out of the Mosque, protesters take their message to the street of Seif Al-Dawleh Neighborhood) (Aleppo City: university students performing their obligatory military service hold a demonstration chanting “the people want to topple the regime”)

Lattakia City (thousands of protesters tear apart a poster of Bashar Al-Assad) (thousands of protesters singing and chanting) (“Come on leave Bashar”) (protesters make room for hundreds of women chanting “Get out, get out, leave this free land”) (protesters march into the evening)

Deraa Province (Deraa Province / Basr Al-Hareer – “Leave, leave Bashar”) (Deraa Province / Al-Hraak) ((Deraa Province / Al-Harrah – protesters come under fire at night) (Deraa City - armed with stones, protester face up to army troops chanting “the Syrian army is a traitor”) (Deraa City: protesters come uner fuire as they throw stones at the army and chant “damn your soul Hafiz” and “Hey Yalla, we only kneel before Allah”)

Kurdish Areas (Kobani: “the people want to topple the regime”) (Qamishly: protesters clash with security forces) (Qamishly: protesters come under tear gas attack by security forces)

Jableh (hundreds of residents take to the streets in this bastion of loyalty to the Assads)